Widespread internet access is causing mass sleep deprivation, study suggests

sleep deprivation

Could more readily available internet be stealing sleep from people?

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These researchers aren’t the first people to raise the alarm about our dependence on internet-connected devices, or the possible links between areas like smartphone addiction and various negative health impacts. However, arguments surround many of these studies has gotten bogged down in the correlation versus causation debate. While this study is certainly not going to be the final word on the matter, the unique post-Berlin Wall digital divide in Germany — which has split broadband adoption along geographical lines — certainly makes for a compelling case study.

“Overall, the results were consistent with our prior [assumption] that high-speed internet may increase the use of digital devices, and more technology use near bedtime may delay bedtime and result in shorter and worse sleep,” Stella said. “A more surprising result is that the correlation between smartphone use and short sleep duration was highest among the 30- to 59-year-olds, rather than the under 30. The larger effect among over-30s may be explained by the fact that these individuals are more likely to face work and family constraints in the morning, and may not be able to compensate for a later bedtime.”

A paper describing the work was recently published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

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